MAYPORT, Fla. –
During the exercise, forces worked together to find, track and intercept a simulated drug smuggling vessel, to ultimately gain positive control of the craft.
Billings deployed her 11-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) as the simulated go-fast smuggler track of interest (TOI) and her MH-60S Sea Hawk attached to the “Snowmen” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Detachment 5, while the Dominican navy participated with coastal patrol vessel Canopus (GC 107).
Following the interdiction exercise, MV Kellie Chouest joined the ships to practice a series of tactical shipboard movements and formations, also testing maritime command and control capabilities.
The training helped to improve interoperability and demonstrate the strategic partnership with the Dominican Republic that helps facilitate conducting naval operations against emerging threats in the region.
“It was a great opportunity to once again work with our partners from the Dominican Republic,” said Cmdr. Brett Seeley, commanding officer of Billings. “Having the chance to operate together for a second time on our deployment reinforces previous training and allows us to build upon what we learned from the first exercise.”
The Kellie Chouest is special mission ship that provides an additional capability for detection and monitoring of counter illicit drug trafficking. The SMS allows for command and control, afloat forward staging base and serves as a logistics support vessel to build our partner nation’s capacity in support of operations in the AOR.
Billings conducted a similar interdiction exercise with the Dominican Republic July 10, with coastal patrol vessel Canopus (GC 107), and Justice Boston whaler-class boat Nunki (LI-163) following a three-day port visit to Santo Domingo where they held a reception hosting the President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Mr. Luis Rodolfo Abinader, and other distinguished guests.
Bilateral engagements allow both navies to strengthen tactical readiness for future operations, maintain readiness at sea, and support continued commitment to security and stability in the region.
Billings is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.